The education sector in India has grown tremendously since independence. In fact, there have been significant improvements made across different indicators in the sector. This has only magnified since 2002 when the right to education was added as a Fundamental Right in Article 21A in part 3 of the constitution on India.
India has been successful in achieving near-universal access for 199 million children, school infrastructure has increased to 1.4 million schools and 98% habitations in the country have an upper primary school within three kilometres walking distance. However, several issues pertaining to the quality of education, the relevance of curriculum, lack of learning and accountability as well as non-committed or impassionate teachers have been hurdles in the evolution of the Indian education system.
While the government is working extensively towards solving these issues, contributions by the corporates have played a major role in addressing some of these issues effectively. In fact, the structured and strategic approach of businesses utilizing their CSR funds to address the issues within the education sector has generated long-term benefits for the country. In this regard, let us look at the top CSR initiatives in education.
Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) – Ambuja Manovikas Kendra
ACF is running a special education school called Ambuja Manovikas Kendra (AMK) based in Ropar, Punjab for a section which is considered a last priority in the education sector. This school improves the quality of life of differently-abled children teaching them skills so that they can be independent in their day-to-day activities. This facility is open for intellectually disabled, autistic, cerebral palsy and children with multiple disabilities in the entire district of Ropar. The school provides essential training services like special education, therapeutic services, rehabilitation, awareness & inclusion in society, counselling to the parents etc. It currently caters to 127 children with special needs. It is, in fact, one of the biggest initiatives in our education program.
Vedanta Limited – Project Nand Ghar
Vedanta Limited’s, CSR flagship project Nand Ghar has rolled out e-learning modules for home-schooling through WhatsApp groups across villages of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha. The e-learning modules consist of stories, games, rhymes, home-based activities, moral science lessons and more for children below six years of age. ICDS, Government of Rajasthan issued an order to roll out Nand Ghar e-content along with UNICEF e-content for children of all 60,000 Anganwadi centres reaching out to more than 12 lac children in the state.
HP Inc.’s Education Programs
HP Inc. has launched education partnerships, blended learning programs, and donations around the world to respond to COVID-19 including India. The programs underscore it’s corporate goal to enable learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025 through global educational curricula, equipment donations and on-demand learning tech. These include Print, Play & Learn, a free HP global resource, as well as initiatives launched in India and China to deliver a combination of educational, engaging and fun online and printed content which support remote teaching and learning – a new reality for millions of teachers, parents and students during this time.
Microsoft Digital Learning Program
With a view to fill the persisting digital gap among the students of rural government primary schools of Chhattisgarh and help empower illiterate adults with the gift of literacy, Microsoft launched its CSR initiative – Digital learning program in collaboration with Humana People to People India, Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission and Govt. of Chhattisgarh. The program has been launched in 16 schools of Raigarh and Mungeli districts of the state. It is delivered under two broad verticals: School Learning and Adult Literacy.
Under its school learning component, the Programme provides a technology-enabled learning environment to primary school students of grades 1-5.
The Digital Learning Programme aims to enhance the learning levels of the students through the strategic use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), while simultaneously developing their critical thinking and creativity. Under the Programme, computer labs are developed in each school and the capacity of the teachers is built to inculcate new methods to teach subjects with the help of multimedia content. Video-based learning is promoted through ‘School-in-box’ solution comprising a projection system and speakers to keep the students actively engaged in the learning process, while the assessment is conducted through a digital ‘Learning Management System’. The video content has been developed by expert content creators and structured in line with the age/grades of the children.
The adult literacy component of the Programme aims to promote and enhance functional literacy among the illiterate adults of both the districts. This computer-based approach to adult literacy caters to the 3Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic. Enhanced functional literacy among adults is expected to reflect in their increased participation in government programmes while also promoting the participation of women in household income generation. Humana People to People India is a development organisation working for the holistic development of the underprivileged and marginalised people in rural and urban India through social development and poverty alleviation interventions focusing on education, life skills, improved livelihoods, health and sanitation, empowerment of women and environment protection.